Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  November 24, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EST

11:00 pm
>> as the president and prime minister enter, followed by mrs. singh and mrs. obama. have a happy thanksgiving and rush over and pick me up a doggy bag from this thing, i would appreciate it. >> they'll have plenty of leftovers, it looks like. >> that's "countdown." i'm keith olbermann, good night and good luck. to discuss the battle, ladies and gentlemen, sitting in for rachel maddow, governor dooen. good evening. >> thanks keith and thank you for staying with us. rachel is continuing her well-deserved vacation time. we are continuing with health care reform, now on life support. a small group of senators are killing the senate health care reform bill, if it includes a public option. the most vocal is senator joe lieberman, of connecticut. who is now repeating his threat to block any bill that includes
11:01 pm
any version of a public option. with the senate now less than a week away from debating health care reform, democratic majority leader harry reid now has a choice -- stand firm on the public option or compromise it to get something passed. those on the compromise side argue that we should let the bill pass without a public option to get all the good insurance reform in the bill. but, there's a dirty little secret about it. the insurance reform is gone. in order to have insurance reform, you need two things. the first is making sure insurance companies can't turn you down for any medical reason. it's called guaranteed issue. that's in the bill.
11:02 pm
but, it's only effective, if you make sure the coverage is affordable. that's not in the bill. as the bill is written now, the insurance companies will be allowed to gouge their customers if they have illnesses to charge you two or three times what your neighbor gets charged. a lot of the insurance reform in this bill is gone. the only real reform that's left is the public option. if that's compromised away, this bill is no longer health care reform. it's just a huge gift to the health insurance industry from the same people who bailed aig out, the american taxpayers. instead of ruining the bill by taking out the public option, why not do the fair thing? if there are four senators who won't let us pass the bill with a public option, we have a mechanism to pass it, anyway, through the budget reconciliation process. if you do that, you only need 51 votes to pass it, which exist in the senate. instead of 60. just a simple majority, that's how most democracies work. it's what we should have done in the beginning. and that's what democrats ought to do right now. joining us now is independent senator bernie sanders of vermont.
11:03 pm
he's a member of the senate health, education, labor and pensions committee. senator sander, thanks for joining us tonight. >> good to be with you, howard. >> it seems clear to me, if these four senators are to be believed, the senate can't pass the public option. i'm going to ask you, would you support the use of reconciliation to fix it? >> absolutely. it's one of the real options we have. look, the facts are clear. the overwhelming majority of the american people want a public option. they want a choice other than a private health insurance company whose function in life is to rip them off and make as much money as possible. the president wants it. the house of representatives
11:04 pm
want it. the majority of the senate wants it. it's wrong to take a handful of conservative democrats and all the republicans are stopping it. reconciliation is one opportunity and vehicle we have. >> you said this week, you would not vote for a bill that doesn't have a strong public option. are there other democratic senators who would join you in voting without a public option? >> i believe there are. if you do not provide competition to the private insurance companies, what's going to stop them from raising their rates outrageously and costing the government outrageously? i don't see it, frankly. we have to remain strong for a public option, go to a reconciliation or scale down what we are trying to do and try to get 60 votes. that would mean a significant expansion of medicaid, a focus on primary health care in the growth of community health centers and doctors. we could do prescription drug reform. stop the situation where we're paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the reimportation, negotiating
11:05 pm
with the drug companies on medicare part d, and insurance reform as well. maybe we can get a consensus at 60 votes for a scaled down approach. >> the current bill allows insurance companies to gouge their customers charging 30% more. it really works. is that going to be the kind of thing addressed? what do you know about it? >> it is one of the things that should be addressed. you are saying you could prohibit pre-existing conditions, but rates could be risen substantially and people would not be able to afford the insurance. that's obviously an issue that should be dealt with. we're going to introduce a sdozen amendments myself and other senators will have amendments.
11:06 pm
there's two independent senators. you and joe lieberman. do you think you can convince your fellow independent in supporting real health care reform? >> probably not. i think that responsibility will rest with senator reid and millions of americans who want real health care reform. >> they vowed to launch a holy war on health care reform. they promised to use every delaying tactic in the book, a very long book, of senate rules. how could we get a real bill out after we have come so far? >> i think it's really an outrage. after eight years of bush, where nothing was done while health care was deteriorating, sefl hundred people lost their health care. premiums almost doubled. they did virtually nothing. nothing. now that obama and some of us are trying to do something, the best they can do is play the
11:07 pm
obstructionist role and try to kill this bill. that's wrong. it's a sad day for america. they should join us for real, cost effect i, universal comprehensive health care. it's a sad day for our democracy when these guys are awol on this important issue. >> if i were you, i might not answer this, but i'm going to answer it anyway. how optimistic are you that we will get a bill with the public option through the house and signed by the president? >> i don't know if it will be scaled down or what. i think something will be passed. my view is it's better to have something strong and good and cost effective than a bailout to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to the private insurance companies who could raise their rates. at the end of the day, do i think we'll have something? yeah, i do. what it will be is too early to say. >> thank you so much for your
11:08 pm
time. >> good to be with you. >> after all the talk of a public option, what happens if the senate ends up with a bill that does not have a robust public option? will progressive members of congress still vote for it and call that reform? we're going to ask now one of the leading progressives in the house, anthony weiner. that's next. (announcer) maybe we could all use... a little more softness. with ultra downy, you're surrounded with softness. the kind you just can't get from detergent alone. ultra downy. feel more. now save a dollar at downy.com. well, say you're looking for it in new places, like working with a supplier in china and a manufacturer in germany to reach new customers in the u.s. well, ups can help bring it all together
11:09 pm
with efficient solutions like paperless invoice that can help make customs a breeze. hey, the opportunities are out there. seize them with ups. you know, it's hard drawing those perfect circles.
11:10 pm
you can now turn an e-mail... into a conference call. and a conference call... into a conference room with one flip. meet your new business partner. you don't need to get a phone. you need a phone that gets you. (announcer) some people just know how to build things well. give you and your loved ones an expertly engineered mercedes-benz at the winter event going on now. but hurry - the offer ends soon.
11:11 pm
11:12 pm
insurance companies are out there in full force carpet bombing against a public option. when you ask people about a plan, they are uncertain about it until you tell them what's in it. for months, top democrats have hammered the inshurns industry for the multimillion dollar campaign to stop health
11:13 pm
care reform. now, as house democrats wait on their senate colleagues to pass a health care reform, they are looking on as a centerpiece of reform. the public option hangs in the balance. thanks to the insurance industry. senate democrats are divided. those who threatened to kill the bill and refuse to bring it up if it has the public option in it. democrats will vote against a bill if it weakens the public option. will it survive the senate? if not, what does it mean for the prospects in the house? joining me now is anthony weiner from new york. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> are liberals willing to kill the bill if it has a public option? a real public option, not a trigger or opt-out or those kinds of things. but a real, strong public option? >> many of us compromised along the way.
11:14 pm
people like me wanted a single payer system for all americans. we compromised for a strong public option for a small number of people. we are negotiating away too much for progressives in the house. the thing that's most complicated for us is we listen to our colleagues saying it doesn't save enough money. the one tool we have, they say we want that out of there, too. the problem with the negotiations is we have a small group of democrats arguing, essentially an inconsistent thing. they want a lower cost, but don't want the public option. >> how did we sink to this low point where there's not a mention of the single payer system, even though 50 million americans are already in a single pay system, it's called medicare for people over 65. another 25 million americans are in a socialized government run plan which happens to be the most highly rated of all the health care systems in the country, private and public.
11:15 pm
how did we get to this point. >> not to mention the department of defense. >> not to mention the 535 congressenmen with a hybrid system. >> we have our own public option. we are on medicare. not myself. i did a survey. 150 members of the house and senate are on a public option medicare. let's not get carried away about how far we have sunk. it is a compromise for many of us. >> very solid. >> the senate bill, i think, still, we have a conference to get to. one of the things i argued all along, if we knew what people like senator lieberman an landrieu or lincoln said we want cost savings, we could give it to them. we can take something like to medicaid system with a 1.5% overhead and expand it. we can do cost savings. we have to know what they want. between the public option
11:16 pm
getting watered down and the stupak amendment attacking the rights of women and, by the way, putting government bureaucrats between people and their doctor, if those things stay intact, i don't think this has the votes to pass the house. it's regrettable. there are a lot of things to do that we all agree on. >> what about the idea bernie sanders was talking about. don't reform the system. expand medicaid and put in money for qualified health care centers and those kind of things. >> bernie is great. i don't buy the idea we are transforming it. we are going to add new standards and give tax credits to people to buy insurance. we should be thinking about
11:17 pm
taking something that works. by the way, a bedrock, democratic program. everyone understands medicare because their parent is on it and they like it. we have made mistakes. if we democrats think we are going to stand for it, having the stupak language in there, we are going to find we might be doing more harm than good to our brand. >> that's what i want to ask you about. that will be the last question for me. more harm than good. at what point is it not worth passing. >> i have a website, countdowntohealthcare.com. the american people want us to fight back and stand for principle and we are not doing it. i'm convinced senator reid and bernie sanders are going to bring around those senators. if we water it down much further, we are going to be to that point.
11:18 pm
it's got to be the good at the end of the day. >> as ross perot said, if we're not getting anything for it. >> we need to provide better care for those with insurance. the public option is how you do it. we are thinking by throwing it overboard, we are going to pass the bill. that's a back calculation to make. we need the public option. >> congressman weiner, thanks for taking the time. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> if you want to know more about my view on health care reform, pick up my book. howard dean's prescription for real health carry form. big news out of washington. we are learning president obama made his decision to send more troops to afghanistan retired cornel joins us to talk about the plan. duracell batteries. and if you think all batteries are the same, consider this: these batteries are going... to the mattel children's hospital, u.c.l.a . because here they use the most... technologically advanced equipment for the healing... and the play.
11:19 pm
and to power all those toys the people at duracell... packed up a truckload of batteries. because nothing's better than powering a smile. duracell. trusted everywhere. who switched from geico to allstate... saved an average of $473 a year? no way! way. ♪ i hired him to speak. a lot of fortune 500 companies use him. but-i'm your only employee. we're going to start using fedex to ship globally- that means billions of potential customers. we're gonna be huge. good morning! you know business is a lot like football. i just don't understand... i'm sorry dick butkus (announcer) we understand. your business could use a pep talk. visit fedex.com/peptalk
11:20 pm
so, at national, i go right past the counter... and you get to choose any car in the aisle. choose any car? you cannot be serious! okay. seriously, you choose. go national. go like a pro.
11:21 pm
11:22 pm
after eight year, some of those years in which we did not have, i think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job. the job, in this case, is the war in afghanistan. and president obama has reportedly reached a decision on how he plans to finish it. the president feld a final afghanistan strategy meeting with his national security team in the situation room last night. and now nbc news is reporting on the details about the president's plan. it reportedly will call for an
11:23 pm
increase of 32,000 to 34,000 u.s. troops. it will include benchmarks and goals. no timetable for pulling out of the country. it appears to be close to the 40,000 requested by general stanley mcchrystal, the commander in afghanistan. president obama is expected to announce the new plan next week. >> and, i feel very confident when the american people hear a clear rational for what we are doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive. >> a decision comes after a lengthy an contentious deliberation. the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan used to be the top u.s. commander reportedly cautioning the president against sending more troops.
11:24 pm
it appears that thousands more americans will be headed to afghanistan. joining us now is msnbc military analyst, colonel jack jacobs. he interviewed the chief of afghanistan for next week's "parade" magazine. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> the president's plan is generally seen as a middle ground decision. is that how you characterize it? >> i think so. if general mcchrystal had his way, he would like to have lots manufactu more. i don't think any general wants fewer troops. they want as many as they can get their hands on. 34,000 looks like it's four combat brigades, all the support necessary to take care of it in the region. special forces and special operations forces. that ought to bring you up to
11:25 pm
the number we are talking about. it's a middle ground. it permits them to not overload the zone and stretch forces. they are thinly stretched and focus on the areas that need attention in afghanistan. the strategy review isn't just about how many troops to send, but how long they should stay and how to get them out. do you think the debate over troop levels overshadowed the strategy in afghanistan? >> i think so. everybody is talking numbers. the numbers are important depending on the type of troops and what they are doing. i recall back in the days when the surge, we had the surge in iraq. everybody was talking about the surge. we had between 100 and 200,000 troops there. a surge of 27, 000 troops was nothing. what made a difference is we sent them to areas and kept them there. that's what made the difference. here in afghanistan, it's what will make the difference, not the number of troops, but what we do with them. that's the most important thing.
11:26 pm
>> how detailed do you think the president's speech is going to be about the strategy, which is what americans are going to focus on now that we are sending 34,000 more troops. the instructions inside the defense department and general petraeus gave, is going to be very, very detailed. the study that went into this, also very detailed. i think the president is going to try to be as general as possible. i think he's going to try to influence public opinion to the following extent. i have made a decision. i know the strategy i want to pursue. it's going to be this, to focus on areas. we are going to keep troops there to keep people successful. i don't think he's going to get more than that. >> as you are aware and most americans are aware, the polling
11:27 pm
that shows the support for the war in afghanistan is dropping below 50%. mid-term elections are coming up. the president is going to have a hard time. will he have a hard time getting money for this? >> at the end of the day, most people don't read the constitution and understand it's not the president of the united states. it's about the congress. the president doesn't have many powers. congress has all the powers. in the end, it's up to the congress, whether or not instructions from the president actually get carried out. they are the guys who funded. remember guantanamo bay?
11:28 pm
the president said we are going to close it. congress said we're not going to appropriate the $80 million to do it. we're not doing it. congress is very, very reluctant to come down hard on any efforts that revolve around national security. we went through more than a decade in vietnam and one of the reasons we did is because congress abc lutdly refused to shut down the pipeline of money. i think this is the same case, the same situation. congress is not happy about doing this. the public is not happy about going through it again. we have been there eight years. we may have to go through it another decade. in the end, congress does not want to be the body that says to the american public, we are not going to defend you, we are not allocating the money. congress is going to give the president some time and give him the money he needs, he's going to request to get it done. >> thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. >> good to see you. new questions tonight over wall street and big bonuses. a new report says the top executives at two of the firms helped lead to the banking crisis walked away with millions of dollars before the firms collapsed. eliot spitzer is going to be here to explain how it happened and how it can be stopped from happening again.
11:29 pm
(announcer) they've been tested, built and driven like no other. and now they're being offered like no other. come to the winter event and get an exceptional offer on the mercedes-benz of your dreams. it's our way of showing a little holiday spirit. but hurry - the offer ends soon. have come home to custom roasted maxwell house. really great flavor. i love the taste. hmmm. hmmm. smooth. rich. fabulous. is it "hmmm?" hmmm. (announcer) taste why maxwell house is good to the last drop.
11:30 pm
...and plain tissue... ...caused quite a commotion. mom knows to use soothing puffs plus with lotion. plain tissue can irritate the sore nose issue. puffs plus with lotion is a more soothing tissue. it can go from a scratchy throat in the morning. to a cough. to a full body ache... at night.
11:31 pm
new tylenol cold rapid release gels day and night work fast too. they release medicine fast to relieve painful coughs, congestion and sore throats. so you can rest, day and night. feel better, tylenol cold. it turns out you can do well for yourself being a top executive at a failed bank. a new report reveals executives at two of the firms that figured
11:32 pm
prominently in the financial meltdown walked away with huge payoffs before the collapse. nbc's lisa myers reports. >> reporter: it was the early phase of the financial meltdown last year. first bear stearns was sold to avoid a collapse. thousands of employees lost jobs. a new study by experts at harvard law school titled wages of failure found that since 2000, the top five executives received staggering amounts of cash bonuses and sold mountains of stock. bear stearns cashed out $1.4 billion and lehman brothers $1 billion. >> people who invested in these companies should feel betrayed. the whole idea of capitalism is that the people provide the capital and the executives take care of it for us. in this case, the people
11:33 pm
provided their capital and the executives took it. >> reporter: the study found when the firms collapsed, james cane and richard fold lost about $900 million worth of stock. but the study said they still came out well ahead overall. cane walked away with $388 million, and fold, $541 million. >> they were rewarded hundreds of millions of dollars. they got that reward for making catastrophic decisions. >> last year, cane bought two condominiums here. at the iconic plaza hotel in new york city. price tag $28 million. fold also remains a wealthy man. he has an $8 million estate in greenwich, connecticut. sold his park avenue apartment in new york for $26 million this summer, and has a $14 million oceanfront estate in florida,
11:34 pm
which he sold to his wife for $100 earlier this year. shareholders are suing executives at both firms. gerald silk represents former lehman shareholders who claim executives weren't truthful about the firm's financial condition. >> lehman crashed and shareholders lost billions of dollars when dick fold and others walked away personally very, very wealthy. >> nbc's lisa myers in washington. the study's conclusion pushes for tougher pay oversight and an important detail to note, one of the report's authors is an adviser to president obama's pay czar. he recently instituted tough salary caps for ceos whose companies received bailout money. according to the wall street journal, he's facing pressure from officials to relax pay restrictions at american international group, another institution 80% owned by
11:35 pm
american taxpayers. is this a case the more things change the more they stay the same? joining us now, former attorney general and govr forof the state of new york, eliot spitzer who has an article on the aig report on slate.com today. thank you for coming on the show tonight, eliot spitzer. >> good to see you. >> good to see you. the pay czar, is he going to back down on the pay cuts for aig? >> i hope not. the folks at aig are saying if you cut our pay, people will leave. on the other side, the treasury department saying we don't want people to leave. there's an old saying, i think it was de gaulle saying the graveyards are filled with indispensable men. aig is filled with folks who are indispensab indispensable. call their bluff. if you want to leave, go. it's out of control.
11:36 pm
they are fiduciaries this they are working for shareholders. there's a confusion there. >> aig is slated to pay $200 million bonuses in march. what do you think is going to happen with that? should that be paid? >> some of are those are not contractually obligated because these contracts were agreed to and signed off on by many people from treasury and others, some of whom made a big fuss about it even though they signed off on it. what we need to do is go back, dig deeper and reconstruct the entire pay structure of wall street. salaries should be cut. bonuses should be cut. there should not be options where the shares weren't driven to zero. so when the shares come back, there's still real value there. executives should be held accountable and should remember they work for shareholders. >> this is a question i wanted to ask an attorney. i don't know what the answer is. a lot of americans have really been hurt by this and their pensions have been cut by huge
11:37 pm
numbers. they're not going to come back. i think a lot of americans are wondering why some of these people aren't in jail. and why aren't they in jail? >> some of them should be. >> explain what they did. people think they took money, but don't know why they aren't being prosecuted. >> this is not going to lead anybody into a jail cell. but what happened is compensation committees, board of directors got together and agreed that they would pay themselves more and more and more over time. so all of wall street started digging in deeper and deeper and taking money that should have been shareholder money. that's our money. we own these companies and we as shareholders never pushed back when the executives got together and took more and more of it. some of them are partnerships. that's different. many of these companies were taking shareholder money and the wages they were paying themselves was simply extravagant, unwarranted, unjumped. shareholders have to stand up and say enough. criminal conduct, many were
11:38 pm
misleading the public and shareholders and the risks and portfolios. those were instances. >> you made the cases, we need new regulations on wall street. the ones we have had have not been enforced. >> absolutely. >> i wanted to ask you what you just said about share hollers. there's been a culture for years, and as a small shareholder myself, you see these proxy statements, they tell you you have to vote with management. there's no culture in this country that shareholders have rights at all. don't we need to change it? >> absolutely. one way, i have been disappointed of states and cities across the nation. they are few douchearies. they could stand-up and say we have voting our shares to change the structure governing and pay scale. we could do it through the mutual funds. there are many who should have stood up over time. forget looking backwards and
11:39 pm
forwards, they should do it now. they talked about how executives were taking too much. shareholders should make it. it should change the culture. do we need more government rules? some would help. but the reality is the government regulator, tim geithner at the new york fed could have stopped all this, should have stopped all this. he didn't. >> you wrote an article that's tough on geithner. called "geithner's disgrace." >> that was the headline. the argument is when aig was bailed out, tens of billions of dollars were given to the counter parties, the major banks, 100 cents on the dollar for the cds positions they had. not to get technical, they were given everything, tim geithner and the fed did not negotiate with them. there's no justification. it was a give away of tens of
11:40 pm
millions of dollars to the bank that is got us in this pickle. the problem we have is we have a treasury department willing to negotiate with the taxpayer to demand the fundmental behavior we need. they are not lending to the mid-size companies that will create the jobs. what wall street is doing and given permission to do is use the money for trading, give it away in bonuses and invest it overseas. with tax dollars, it's not what we should be doing. there's no other side to the bargain. yes, we bailed them out. that needed to be done. the question is, do we insist upon giving back to them. the answer is no. >> eliot spitzer, thanks for coming. appreciate it. i have a lot of professional respect for the challenges facing the republican national committee.
11:41 pm
i'm not sure i would give a purity test to separate the really republicans from the fake republicans. the latest of the rnc are coming up. ♪ my burden is too heavy ♪ ♪ we have more ♪ life goes on ♪ an ordinary manual brush until you turn it on. its deep cleaning vibrating bristles break up plaque between teeth for an enhanced deep clean. manual control plus deep cleaning power. the oral-b pulsar. and you'll get the multicard discount. and the safe driver discount. and you'll save big on the paid-in-full discount. thank you. and the anti-theft discount. and the homeowner's discount. the e-sign discount. and the paperless discount. the multi-freckle discount. i'm just making sure you're listening. and, not to mention, the multi-policy discount. would you like one great big bag or two still pretty big bags?
11:42 pm
getting the discounts you deserve. now, that's progressive. call or click today. let's fine-tune your business to take advantage of new opportunities. (music volume decreases) well, ups can help lower warehouse costs, (music volume increases) while increasing your global reach. (volume increases, decreases) more ups technology can help bring down paperwk. (music volume increases) and ups has more shipping options than anyone. hey, it's time to seize the opportunities with ups. (backbeat swells) there, now that sounds perfect.
11:43 pm
republican national committee wants to have a litmus test for candidates before they support them to make sure they are conservative enough. more on that coming up.
11:44 pm
any party that tries to purge member that is might have any independent thinking will eventually run itself into a
11:45 pm
minority status. >> that was republican dede scozzafava after falling victim to an ideological purge during a congressional rate this year, a purge that's now reaching into the heart of the republican party. ten members of the republican national committee are distributing a purity membership proposal to be voted on by party members early next year. among them are, quote, republican solidarity in opposition to obama's socialist agenda and president reagan's belief that someone who agreed with him eight out of ten times was his friend, not opponent. the resolution proposes that in order to qualify for funding from the republican national committee, candidates must sign on to no fewer than eight of the ten principles, including things like opposing climate change legislation, opposing gun control, opposing immigration reform, opposing gay marriage, and supporting lower taxes.
11:46 pm
a litmus test, that as keith pointed out on "countdown" not even ronald reagan himself would have passed. big tent meet pup tent. joining us now, democratic strategist chris kofinis. thank you for coming on. i'm so used to being the guest here. back in the spring, michael steele denied rush limbaugh was the de facto leader of the republican party. he called limbaugh's language incendiary and ugly and then, of course, apologized the next day. now you have the party considering adopting a resolution that calls obama's agenda socialist. what changed between the michael steele then and the michael steele now? >> they are terrified of their grassroots. their misunderstanding is the grassroots are leading them down a path that's going to make them more and more unelectable.
11:47 pm
you cannot have a party with a litmus test that doesn't reflect the reality or policies the country cares about. when you go through the list of them, it reinforces the notion, this is a party of no. this is a bigger problem for steele and a bigger problem for the republican party as they try to figure out how they put themselves in the strongest position for 2010. if they go down this road, they are not going to lose candidates, but alienate voters. and just in terms of candidates, look at, for example, places like illinois and delaware where two of the republican candidates wouldn't meet this test. it is illogical, if not down right stupid to be blunt about it. >> they do this all the time. they give candidates political questionnaires and rate them and endorse them. based on their answers. is that what the republican party is doing? >> well, they seem to be mirroring that. the problem with this, it's not
11:48 pm
interest groups, both sides of the spectrum will do it. the difference is a party saying who can be part of the republican party. the logic part is, this is simple politics. you have to figure out a way to appeal to a wide range of voters. not just mobilize your base, but figure out how to appeal to independents and moderates and bring those people over who may not be agreeing with every part of your ideological agenda. their problem is, they want people to subscribe to their agenda and they don't understand -- they seem to not understand politics. you have to reflect what voters want and think. you can't simply impose your beliefs and i think it shows how radical the republican grassroots have gotten. >> so, erase district 23, upstate new york where doug hoffman was the candidate, dede scozzafava didn't make the test. most of the presidential candidates talked about in 2012
11:49 pm
came in and helped run the republican out of the race. the conservative lost, conceded, unconceded, conceded again, unconceded, et cetera, et cetera. do the republicans think it's a win for them? >> you would think they would realize by what they did in the 23rd district, it wouldn't be a winning strategy, but in a strange twist of events it's actually em bolened them. they actually think what happened in new york 23 is a victory. they actually think what's happening in florida where they're getting behind rubio versus crist is a victory. again, i think it shows how radicalized and how virulent the right is becoming. it's going to become a real problem for michael steele and the republicans. how do you appeal to moderates if you are unwilling to tell
11:50 pm
your base they don't reflect what most voters think. it's not a recipe for success. this is where democrats have a real opening. we can come out and say yeah, we have some tough issues, but we're addressing them. they, meaning the republicans have an ideological agenda that doesn't reflect your beliefs or your agenda. >> democratic strategist chris kofinis, thanks for joining us this evening. maybe rachel will have chairman limbaugh on next week. coming up next on "countdown" keith analyzes sarah lin baumb state dinners and dinners, way way out-of-state cocktail moment. is that what? what? i can't even read the teleprompter anymore. we'll hear about the state dinner in a minute. where you can get vitamins, supplements, cold remedies, as well as helpful advice from friendly pharmacists. i've got a little stiffness in my wrist. aisle 4.
11:51 pm
new express refills from walgreens.com. refill prescriptions online from wherever you are. walgreens. there's a way to find your joy. ♪ so, at national, i go right past the counter... and you get to choose any car in the aisle. choose any car? you cannot be serious! okay. seriously, you choose. go national. go like a pro. you want time to enjoy the holidays. i just want fewer pills and relief that lasts all day. take 2 extra strength tylenol every 4 to 6 hours?!? taking 8 pills a day... and if i take it for 10 days -- that's 80 pills. just 2 aleve can last all day.
11:52 pm
perfect. choose aleve and you can be taking four times... fewer pills than extra strength tylenol. just 2 aleve have the strength to relieve arthritis pain all day. but you can take home that dentist smooth clean feeling with oral-b rechargeable brushes. dentist inspired cupping action sweeps away up to twice as much plaque as a regular manual brush. oral-b rechargeable brushes. starting at $22.
11:53 pm
joining me now with tonight's cocktail moment, the executive producer of the rachel
11:54 pm
maddow show, bill wolf. >> thank you, governor, words i have never spoken before. former governor, a former rnc chair. i have a twitter account. so we're even. last night in a shameless play for ratings, we broke news that was already everywhere else. that's just good business. the white house we reported would host its first state dinner tonight to honor prime minister singh to honor our ally, india and it would be held outside under a tent. tonight, we can report exclusively we got it right last night. good to be off that limb. they are having a state dinner right now with 300 special guests. making the list is secretary of state hillary clinton. you can't have a state dinner without the secretary of state. and new york mayor michael bloomberg. and general colin powell, not representing the rachel maddow
11:55 pm
show but wanted to appear as a guest and vice president joed y b by -- joe biden who is vice president. this is our president honoring a world leader of genuine significance. as such, there is one question most men, women and children in this country want to know tonight, what is on america's menu? what's for grub? minutes ago, i was on scene to try to find out. i turn now to me. >> the handle eric holder. >> attorney general eric holder. bill wolf from the rachel maddow show. i'm great. you're not looking at me. look at me. sir, attorney general holder, i have one question, simple question. one more -- can i get a question? yes. what's on the dinner menu? no. i recognize -- no, you didn't tell me what was on the menu. speaker pelosi. speaker pelosi. bill wolf, rachel maddow show.
11:56 pm
speaker pelosi, one question. what is on the menu tonight? can't tell me. secretary geithner, secretary geithner. secretary you g secretary geithner. hi, don't want to talk about the fed. brian williams, i got this one. brian williams, it's me, bill wolf, the other guy with initials you sometimes recognize. brian, want to know what's on the menu tonight. anything? help a friend out. brian, don't walk away! >> a little embarrassing about brian. he must not have seen me, governor dean, because we're dear dear friends. my fact finding mission was a bust. but the fact finding unit went to work investigating the mass e-mails everyone has probably already seen. we got answers on the menu tonight. green curry prawns and
11:57 pm
caramelized salescy fi with smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati. and red lentil soup and fresh cheese. potato and eggplant salad, white house arugula. wait a second. did i read that correctly, white house arugula, they grew it themselves? did this administration learn nothing from the campaign. a wedge of iceberg lettuce with a quarter of ranch dressing is about as salad as you want, mr. president? arugula, going to take everybody bowling because it worked out so good the first time? i question the savvy of this menu. have you ever been to one. >> i have been to one and a lady next to me pulled a salad out of her purse and ate it. >> was that carol channing? >> and smashing kib bits on the
11:58 pm
white house lawn, the administration was being one upp upped, not dogtown pennsylvania, outer freaking space. we will see your pre-thanksgiving state dinner and raise you a sh iraquied wrapped dinner in a crumb-free environment. here are the astronauts revealing the culinary delights they'll enjoy their thanksgiving day with orange flavored drink. >> on the traditional side of things, we have cauliflower and cheese. we'd like to point out it's very nice. we have foods from all of the partner countries. we have european delicacies, as was mentioned. in this can, we have one of my favorites a mushroom and truffle pate, very delish. some cream spinach, which is also very good. >> so light it floats. >> fruit cocktail. >> that's fruit cocktail? >> some anks, colorful, too.
11:59 pm
our standard with the bread, since we don't like crumbs up here, is to tortilla. and spicy green beans. >> you got to, you're all the way up there. >> unfortunately, we don't get to make green bean casserole. this is the next best thing. >> once again the space program solving unsolvable problems. number one, how to eat thanksgiving dinner without putting on weight. zero g, due. how do you avoid family drama at the holidays? well, in space, no one can hear your family scream. if only every tax dollar was that effective, governor dane, don't you think. >> yes, sir. >> huh, but but but but sorry to interrupt you. i'm being told by the control room we have one more breaking moment. this in from the cocktail newsroom. dr. howard dane's latest book, dr. howard dane's
left
right